Tickets for Pink Martini are $28, with a discount for seniors. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the Rockwell Hall Box Office, 1300 Elmwood Ave. or by calling 716-878-3005 or online at www.buffalostate.edu/pac. Box Office hours are Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Somewhere between a 1930s Cuban dance orchestra, a classical chamber music ensemble, a Brasilian marching street band and Japanese film noir is Pink Martini. A huge hit in Europe, this Portland-based ensemble presents a stylistic repertoire that includes melodies and rhythms from all over the world.
Part language lesson, part Hollywood musical, this ‘little orchestra’ was created in 1994 in Portland, Oregon by Harvard graduate and classically trained pianist Thomas M. Lauderdale to play at political fundraisers for progressive causes such as civil rights, affordable housing, clean water, and public broadcasting. The group made its European debut at the Cannes Film Festival and in the years following went on to tour throughout Europe (including France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland and Monte Carlo), Greece, Turkey, Taiwan, Lebanon and the United States.
While you may not recognize their name, their music has been used in films such as Josie & the Pussycats, Nurse Betty and Tortilla Soup as well as on the televisions shows The Sopranos, The West Wing and Felicity among others. Equally at home performing its multi-lingual repertoire on concert stages and smoky bars, Pink Martini draws a wildly diverse crowd. The ensemble made its orchestral debut with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra in 1999 under the direction of Norman Leyden. Pink Martini has also performed with the symphony orchestras of Seattle, Nashville, New Jersey, Charlotte, San Antonio, Kansas City and Jacksonville, among others.
In October 2003, Pink Martini performed at the grand opening of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s new Frank Gehry designed Walt Disney Concert Hall. They were invited back to play two sold-out performances for the hall's first New Year’s Eve celebration in 2003 and again in 2004. Other appearances include the Kennedy Center, the opening of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas and the William Morris Agency’s 100th birthday celebration with soul legend, Al Green.
Pink Martini's debut album, Sympathique, was released independently on the band's own label, Heinz Records (after Lauderdale's dog, Heinz) and has sold over 650,000 copies worldwide. Nominated for "Song of the Year" and "Best New Artist" in France's Victoires de la Musique awards, Sympathique has gone Platinum in France and Gold in Greece. The band's highly-anticipated second album, Hang on Little Tomato, was released in October, 2004 on Heinz Records in the United States, and on Naive Records across Europe. The album features mostly original songs written by the band and its extended family. Drawing on themes articulated in its first album, Hang on Little Tomato is the result of the group's diverse collaborations and inspirations. From an advertisement for Hunt's Ketchup from a 1964 issue of LIFE magazine to a dance sequence in the 1950 Italian film Anna, Hang on Little Tomato includes songs in French, Italian, Japanese, Croatian, Spanish and English.
“My hope is that we’re creating exquisite musical wallpaper which can be turned up or down, and played on almost any occasion, from background music to a love affair to vacuuming around the house,” Lauderdale says. “I think our music allows people to dance and sing again with its beautiful melodies and beautiful lyrics. It is entirely romantic and expresses hope and eternal optimism, all the while recognizing that there is a great amount of sadness in the world.”
The Great Performers Series is sponsored by M&T Bank and WBFO.